Cybersecurity: Protecting Yourself Online

Living in the digital age has many advantages. It can also make us vulnerable to fraud, identity theft and other scams, but with a education, awareness, and action, we can protect ourselves. 
The American Bankers Association recommends the following tips to keep you safe online:

1. Keep your computers and mobile devices up to date.
Turn on automatic updates so you receive the newest fixes as they become available. Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats

2. Establish passwords.
A strong password is at least eight characters in length and includes a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.

3. Watch for phishing scams.
Do not click on links or open any attachments or pop-up screens from sources you are not familiar with. Phishing scams use fraudulent emails and websites to trick users into disclosing private account or login information.

Forward phishing emails to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at – and to the company, bank, or organization impersonated in the email.

4. Recognize and avoid bogus website links.
Cybercriminals embed malicious links to download malware onto devices and/or route users to bogus websites. Hover over suspicious links to view the actual URL that you are being routed
to. Fraudulent links are often disguised by simple changes in the URL. For example: vs

5. Keep personal information personal.
Hackers can use social media profiles to figure out your passwords and answer those security questions in the password reset tools. Lock down your privacy settings and avoid posting things like birthdays, addresses, mother’s maiden name, etc. Be wary of requests to connect from people you do not know.
Also beware of social media and online quizzes. These are often fraudsters deceiving you to reveal your answer to password reset and other security questions. 

6. Secure your internet connection.
Protect your home wireless network with a password. When connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, be cautious about what information you are sending over it. Consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) app to secure and encrypt your communications when connecting to a public Wi-Fi network. (See the Federal Trade Commission’s tips for selecting a VPN app.)

7. Shop safely.
Before shopping online, make sure the website uses secure technology. When you are at the checkout screen, verify that the web address begins with https. Also, check to see if a tiny locked padlock symbol appears on the page. Read the site’s privacy policies. Though long and complex, privacy policies tell you how the site protects the personal information it collects. If you don’t see or understand a site’s privacy policy, consider doing business elsewhere.

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